Adelina Cove, president of the National Electoral Council, called on Colombians to go out and vote in massive numbers in Sunday’s second round presidential elections. She addressed concerns that voter turnout could be low due to the World Cup.
“We know that there are World Cup soccer games and that we all love soccer in Colombia, but at the same time we can record the matches, we cannot defer our votes for the next day,” Cove urged.
Cove went on to explain that transparency will be high up on her agenda for the election, “Both the National Registry and the National Electoral Council have taken all of the measures to ensure that these elections be completely transparent, so that the final results match the actual ballots cast.”
Colombian authorities announced Wednesday that police and military personnel will provide security to almost all of the country’s polling stations for the second round presidential elections to be held Sunday.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Defense, a 99.5% coverage rate of the polling stations, made through a $35 million investment, represents a coverage rate 20% higher than in the 2002 elections.
The statement also noted that only 6% of Colombian towns have been declared to be “risky,” and 5% as “very risky.”
According to Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, the ability to provide near-total coverage comes as a result of successful collaboration between government agencies.
“This has been a joint effort with the Central Electoral Intelligence which has established a risk-map in order for the electoral authorities, public forces [police and military], and the National Registry to focus their attention and prevent the risks from becoming realities,” Silva said.
The first round of Colombia’s presidential elections, which were held on May 30, were hailed to be the calmest in 40 years, with little reports of violence or disturbances.
Following the election, Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio praised the security forces’ ability to maintain relative peace, stating that violence was down by 78% compared to the 2002 elections. “The control over public order is an absolute success. Acts of violence related to the electoral process were diminished by 78%, which means it was the calmest day of all election days in the past 40 years.”
Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos will face the Green Party’s Antanas Mockus in the second round of elections on June 20, after the candidates gained the highest number of votes in the first round, without getting the majority vote needed to win outright.